P A R I S
THE CITY OF LIGHT
- Did You Know -
There’s a reason Paris is one of the most popular cities among travellers. Known as the “City of Light” or the “City of Love,” the streets of Paris overflow with culture, art, beauty, and history. Whether searching out Monet’s Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie, climbing the many steps of Sacré-Cœur, standing before the Eiffel Tower in awe, or searching out the best crepes along the Seine, Paris is a city that captures the hearts of millions every year.
1. The Eiffel Tower
Many outraged French intellectuals vigorously opposed to the Eiffel Tower‘s construction.Guy de Maupassant, a French author, hated the Eiffel Tower so much he used to eat lunch at the bottom of it almost every day because it was the only place in Paris where he couldn’t see the tower. Today, the Eiffel Tower is a national icon and the title of ‘monstrosity’ now belongs to the Montparnasse Tower which summit offers a spectacular view over Paris… without the skyscraper itself.
2. The Paris Statue Of Liberty
There is a Statue of Liberty in Paris that faces the Statue of Liberty in America, symbolizing the friendship between the two countries.
The size is only 1/3 of the original. It was given to the French people in 1889 by the American community in Paris and stands on a small island in the Seine where it looks down the river toward the Atlantic ocean and New York.
3. The City Of Light
Do you know why Paris is called the City of Light?
It has nothing to do with the power used to illuminate the Eiffel Tower or the streetlights of the city. Lights, in this case, means intellectuals, referring to the high concentration of writers, artists and academics that have always been drawn to the city.
4. The Paris Metro
Paris metro’s ghost stations!
Although it counts almost 400 stations, the Paris metro’s network keeps a few secrets. Actually, no less than 14 stations are listed as “abandoned”, “no longer in use” or “never used”. Most of them, like the station Molitor, is now used as a garage for the storage and maintenance of the underground trains. One of these abandoned stations, Porte des Lilas, is even used as a film set and can be rented by production companies.
5. The Iron Lady
The most visited monument!
Contrary to popular belief, the Eiffel Tower is not the most visited monument of Paris! Indeed, the “Iron Lady” is only ranked fourth among the most prized by tourists. Against all the odds, the cathedral Notre-Dame ranks first, followed by the Sacré-Coeur Basilica and the Louvre Museum. Notre-Dame welcomes more than 12 million visitors per year, while the Eiffel Tower “only” has 7 million people visiting it.
Paris : The city of light
One of Europe’s most famous and most beautiful capital cities, Paris has captivated the hearts and imaginations of artists, writers, and travelers for hundreds of years. It's not difficult to see why the wide, tree-lined avenues and picturesque cobbled streets evoke a sense of history and romance that permeates throughout the city. There is something to discover around almost every corner.
Paris is split through the middle by the river Seine, with the Left Bank (or Rive Gauche) to the south and the Right Bank (Rive Droite) to the North. The city is then divided even further into 20 smaller districts (arrondissements) that fan out from the center in a clockwise spiral. Each neighborhood has something unique to offer, however, it is highly suggested that visitors on a tighter schedule take in at least the most central or single digit arrondissements where you can find most of the major sights.
Paris is the perfect year-round destination except for the month of August, when many stores, restaurants, and other businesses close for summer vacation. In spring, the mild temperatures will make sightseeing a breeze, while in winter Paris takes on a festive feel which will leave enthralled and wanting to come back.
A Shopping Mecca
From Coco Chanel to Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent, many of the world’s most famous fashion designers have lived and worked in Paris, each finding inspiration in the city’s art, architecture and, of course, its famously stylish inhabitants. Shoppers from around the world flock to the French capital to browse the designer boutiques of Rue Saint-Honoré and Avenue Montaigne, as well as the independent exclusive shops of Le Marais on the Rive Droite and Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the Rive Gauche. While in the upscale 7th arrondissement, Le Bon Marché offers big-name designer brands and niche labels in an extremely luxurious setting.
No trip to Paris would be complete without visiting The Louvre museum. It would be easy to spend an entire weekend exploring the halls and taking in the magnificent artwork. It is home to some of the world’s most culturally significant and recognizable paintings including the Mona Lisa, as well as a huge array of historic artifacts and sculptures. Yet Paris has so much more to offer when it comes to art. Those who appreciate impressionism and expressionism art styles should head to the Musée d’Orsay, where Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin and more are displayed in the remarkable surroundings of a former railway station. If your art tastes gravitate more on the side of the contemporary, the Centre Pompidou cannot be missed. Built in the 1970s, this architectural masterpiece houses the Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, a collection of over 100,000 works by 6,400 artists from across the globe, dating from 1905 to the present day.
Versailles is a city in its own right located just 16 miles to the west of Paris. The short train journey of around 45 minutes makes it the perfect day trip for those looking to explore beyond the confines of Paris. Once there, the main draw is the legendary Château de Versailles. It was built in 1624 by French king Louis XIII but expanded dramatically and with no expense spared throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, most famously by Louis XIV. The sprawling 700-room royal residence glitters with gold leaf, huge mirrors, and gigantic crystal chandeliers, while its extensive gardens boast ostentatious fountains, a grotto, a labyrinth, and even a faux-rustic hamlet.
Situated on top of a large hill in the north of the city, Montmartre has the feel of a quaint French village. Its pretty cobbled streets and squares are lined with colourful houses and cozy cafes, which will be familiar to anyone who has seen the film Amélie. Prior to World War One, the neighbourhood was home to celebrated artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Amadeo Modigliani, many of whom are buried in the nearby Cimitière de Montmartre. Take in the views across Paris from the steps of the Basilique du Sacre Coeur, the white marble monument to the Franco-Prussian war, before heading for dinner in one of the area’s many traditional bistros.
When Good Americans Die, They Go To Paris - Oscar Wilde
French food and cooking are generally considered the backbone or the underpinning of many cuisines across the Western world. The influence and recognition of classical French cooking techniques are legendary.
What food is prepared by the French depends on where they live. They will usually cook and prepare dishes local to their region. Typical French foods rely heavily on local products. Fresh apples, berries, haricot verts, leeks, mushrooms, various squash, and stone fruits are among the most commonly used products. Poultry, beef, lamb, and veal are available year-round; game meat is especially popular and abundant during the hunting season that runs from early autumn to February. No matter the location, France has an abundance of artisan cheese and wine.
Southern France features the rich, sophisticated flavors of mushrooms and duck as well as the dramatic herbs, tomatoes, and olives borrowed from neighboring Mediterranean cuisines. Northern France also showcases a remarkable assortment of tastes, focusing heavily on farmhouse-style specialties using apples, dairy, pork, potatoes, sausage, and beer.
A History of French Cuisine
France hasn’t always been keen on garlic, mushrooms, and truffles. Before the 15th century, seasonings and decorations were used to disguise food that had spoiled. France had what many today consider peasant food; it was simple fare without extravagant adornment. However, in the mid-15th century, Catherine de Medici of Italy moved to France to marry the future King Henri II. She brought with her Florentine-educated cooks who introduced a sense of creative drama to French cuisine turning it into a magical art of beautiful presentation and innovative flavors.
The 20th century brought about dramatic changes as well. Traditional haute cuisine made famous for its elaborate preparation and precise presentation was the model of French food preparation until food critics challenged it for being too inflexible. Nouvelle cuisine was a 1970s backlash to the classic heavy haute cuisine. It focused on true tastes, using fewer ingredients and lightening up cream sauces. This new style of French cooking is evident today through flexible preparation methods and more experimentation with non-traditional flavors.
French cuisine is a unique, cultural experience that melds flavorful, nutritious foods with beauty, leisure, and therapeutic preparation. Cooking and savoring French food takes a lifetime to master and truly appreciate its splendor. Explore French cuisine as it is meant to be enjoyed as it an art, a tradition, and a way of life.
The Eiffel Tower
Of course, the Eiffel Tower is the monument any traveler has to see when visiting Paris. This iconic structure has become the symbol of Paris. Originally built for the World’s Fair of 1889 in Paris, it can be seen from any vantage point in the city. Beneath the Eiffel Tower, the Champ de Mars and its garden allow a time of relaxation after the visit.
However, The Eifel Tower was not always as popular as it is today. During its construction, it drew criticism from those who thought it wasn't feasible and those who hated on artistic grounds. These objections were an expression of a long-standing debate in France about the relationship between architecture and engineering. It is hard to believe that in today's world where one can't imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower.
Obviously, the Eiffel Tower attracts many tourists each day to admire this architectural beauty and they have to queue up before being able to get in. When visiting the Eiffel Tower there are two ways to ways to climb up: the bravest can use the stairs, and the others the elevator which is also the only way to the third floor. On the first floor, you will find shops; the Jules Verne is a beautiful gastronomic restaurant on the second floor; finally, the third floor offers one of the best views of Paris, and anywhere you look you will see the beauty of the French capital.
excursions & tours
Paris In One Day
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
See all of the French capital’s top attractions with a guide on a full-day tour of Paris, ideal for travellers short on time. Immerse yourself in the culture and architecture of the city as you travel along the banks of the Seine River to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Head inside the Louvre Museum to see artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci and enjoy panoramic views during lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant. See, too, Notre Dame Cathedral and learn about Paris' history from your guide.
Seine River Dinner Cruise
Duration: 4 hours
Ensure a memorable night out in Paris with a gourmet dinner cruise along the Seine River. Float past the city’s famed monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral aboard a luxury Bateaux Parisiens riverboat. Soak up the magic of Paris from an onboard dining room while enjoying a gourmet 3-course meal. Please note that Champagne and live music are also included on select 8:30 pm departures.
Louvre Museum Skip the Line with Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa
Duration: 3 hours
Experience culture and art through the ages with a small-group tour of Paris’ epic Louvre Museum. Jump the queue and spend three hours with a guide, seeing and learning about some of the museum’s 35,000 artworks across eight themed galleries. Then enjoy time on your own to explore, viewing paintings, sculpture and architecture from 450 BC to the 19th century. Numbers are limited to 25 on this small-group tour to ensure a more intimate experience. To upgrade your ticket, select a private tour exclusive to just your group.